I n 2019, the hopelessly scary animation The Addams family sounded like filmmakers Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon had dug up the blue-spotted corpse of Charles Addams' creation, attempted CPR, and passed it oner for a restart. Now here is Movie # 2; and after a few years, an unmistakably rotten smell emerges from the franchise. As charmless as its predecessor, The Addams Family 2 is devoid of an iota of ooky, nor any shred of kooky. Really, it's a bit awful - and not in the way it intended.
Inexplicably, most talented voices come back for more punishment. Oscar Isaac is the Gomez family man, with Charlize Theron as the wife Morticia (but without the delight Angelica Houston brought to the live-action movies of the '90s). In fact, the best voice work here is done by Chloë Grace Moretz as the unemotional offspring of the Wednesday couple who her parents say may have been exchanged at birth. This would explain forwhich she seems so distant from the rest of the clan. The likely candidate for her biological father is black turtleneck science entrepreneur Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader), who sniffs. To escape his attentions, Gomez takes the family on a trip across America.
There are a handful of decent one-liners while they take in the views. "It's a great wonder of the world and it kills most tourists," Fester says happily in Niagara Falls. It is an honor for the filmmakers that the animation stays true to the visual style of the original Addams cartoons, but it feels like no effort has been made to think through the ingredients of family fright. Instead of having a dark side charm, it's incredibly bright and manic children's movie mode. Even adult jokes - like a tribute to Carrie when Wednesday accidentally entered a beauty pageant forchildren - feel killed. The obvious time slot would have been Halloween, but you can see why they wouldn't dare. Your little devils deserve better.
The Addams Family 2 is in theaters from October 8.